Mnemonic Association System for Numbers

3 minute read

The Association System for numbers is a way to create visual images for numbers. Watch the Introduction to Memorizing Numbers video for a quick overview.

This is a method for creating Mnemonic images for numbers based on things that the numbers remind you of. For example, 02 might be a bicycle, because a bicycle has two wheels. 52 might be a deck of cards, because a deck of cards has 52 cards.

Decimal Numbers

Two examples of association methods for single-digit numbers are the Number Shape System and the Number Rhyme System. Another interesting idea is to assign images based on things that happened during certain years. See also: Date-Based Number System.

Andi Bell describes a complete system for 00-99 in his Memory Pack, which is unfortunately out-of-print. This is a sample set of images that shows how one person used the association method:

  • 00 — hula hoop
  • 01 — stick
  • 02 — bicycle
  • 03 — comb
  • 04 — car
  • 05 — starfish
  • 06 — die (dice)
  • 07 — rainbow — seven colors in the rainbow
  • 08 — octopus
  • 09 — a cat — nine lives
  • 10 — soccer player (Pele wears 10)
  • 11 — goalposts (soccer/football)
  • 12 — the sun (12 noon)
  • 13 — a pen drawing the letter B (looks like 13)
  • 14 — pi-shaped table
  • 15 — a badminton birdie (15 points)
  • 16 — a tennis racket (16 seeded players)
  • 17 — a leaf - this came from St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) but is a leaf instead of a shamrock
  • 18 — the golf hole with a flag — maybe because a golf course has 18 holes
  • 19 — a beer (at the 19th hole)
  • 20 — binoculars (20-20 vision)
  • 21 — a canon (21 gun salute)
  • 22 — two birds — looks like 2 ducklings
  • 23 — a palm tree — 3 rhymes with tree. Twenty starts with “t”.
  • 24 — a bell — rings 24 times per day if ringing on the hour
  • 25 — Christmas present because of December 25
  • 26 — a running shoe (26 mile marathon)
  • 27 — a goblin
  • 28 — an owl — ”tu-whit” sounds like “twenty eight”
  • 29 — a frog — 29 days in a leap year
  • 30 — a mosque/minaret — Ramadan has 30 days
  • 31 — a party horn (December 31st, New Year’s Eve)
  • 32 — a directional compass (32 points)
  • 33 — a record — 33 RPM
  • 34 — waltzing dancer (3/4 meter)
  • 35 — US presidents have to be at least 35 years old
  • 36 — a drafting compass — 360°?
  • 37 — Eiffel Tower
  • 38 — a girl doing a handstand — “BE upside-down” — “BE” looks like 38 upside-down.
  • 39 — a doorstep from “The 39 Steps” by John Buchan
  • 40 — a martini — life begins at 40
  • 41 — Mozart (41 symphonies)
  • 42 — a street lamp on 42nd Street
  • 43 — a baseball bat (World Series: 4 matches to 3)
  • 44 — a sheet of music (4/4 meter)
  • 45 — a rose (of peace at the end of war in ‘45)
  • 46 — a tennis ball (from a tennis score)
  • 47 — a snooker cue (“the maximum break you could make with this snookercue is 147”)
  • 48 — a cello — 4 string on a 8-shaped body
  • 49 — a American football — SF 49ers
  • 50 — 50 pence coin
  • 51 — The Crystal Palace in London (1851)
  • 52 — a deck of cards
  • 53 — a joker (53rd card)
  • 54 — a rocket (countdown: 5…4…)
  • 55 — Caesar (first invasion of Britain 55 B.C.E.)
  • 56 — a Rubik’s cube which has 56 squares
  • 57 — Sputnik — the year that Sputnik went into space
  • 58 — a hand throwing seeds on the ground (5 fingers, 8 seeds?)
  • 59 — a ticket
  • 60 — a wristwatch (60 seconds, 60 minutes)
  • 61 — a wall (Berlin wall 1961)
  • 62 — Fidel Castro — the year of the Cuban missile crisis
  • 63 — a chess pawn
  • 64 — a chessboard, because there are 64 squares on the board
  • 65 — Tyrannosaurus rex (65 million years ago)
  • 66 — an ice cube (The Arctic and Subarctic begin 66 degrees north or south)
  • 67 — God (6 days to make the world, 7th day resting)
  • 68 — a bee flying in a figure 8 (6 legs)
  • 69 — an astronaut — 1969 was the moon landing
  • 70 — hockey stick and puck
  • 71 — an iron
  • 72 — a bag of golf clubs (72 holes in a golf competition)
  • 73 — a refrigerator (absolute zero is -273 degrees)
  • 74 — a paper airplane (from 747)
  • 75 — a percent symbol (“75%” is common)
  • 76 — a trombone
  • 77 — a team of horses (the heads look like 77)
  • 78 — confetti (1978 World Cup confetti)
  • 79 — a key (7 is the key, 9 is the keyhole)
  • 80 — a thermometer (80 degrees F is hot)
  • 81 — the space shuttle. 1981 was the year of first launch.
  • 82 — an atom (“These are 8 outer electrons and 2 inner ones, all spinning round the nucleus in the atom.“)
  • 83 — a hurgle from the 1983 World Athletics Championships in Helsinki
  • 84 — a book (Orwell’s 1984)
  • 85 — a microphone (Live Aid concerts 1985)
  • 86 — a lightbulb
  • 87 — an onion
  • 88 — a piano, because a piano has 88 keys
  • 89 — a brick (from the Berlin Wall 1989)
  • 90 — the Pole Star (90 degrees)
  • 91 — a sunflower (9 is the flower, 1 is a stick supporting it)
  • 92 — the Mayflower (1492)
  • 93 — a globe (Earth is 3rd of 9 planets)
  • 94 — Saturn (one of the 4 gas giants)
  • 95 — a briefcase (working 9 to 5)
  • 96 — a discus (first Olympics 1896)
  • 97 — a CD
  • 98 — a window
  • 99 — Albert Einstein (Einsteinium is element #99)

The Shaper System

See The Shaper System.

Binary Numbers

See the following page for ideas about using associations with binary numbers.

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